Review: Lynam – ‘Tragic City Symphony’

Posted: August 17th, 2008
Contributed By: Nick

Purchase @ Amazon.com
Release Date: August 26, 2008 via New Ocean Media
Lynam is:
Jacob Lynam
(vocals)
Mark Lynam
(bass)
David Lynam
(drums)

Overview: I’m not a gullible person, but ask Lynam and they might tell you different. I interviewed the band early last year, using their then MySpace bio as a source for some of my questions. Little did I realize that the whole thing was a complete fib, and it was only after the band answered my questions that I discovered I was duped (if I could locate a copy of said biography, I’d share, but luckily for my sake I can’t). Moving on, the Brimingham, Alabama trio released ‘Slave to the Machine‘ in 2006, their major label debut which they supported most notably touring alongside Hinder that fall. Two years later, and Lynam is ready to rock your socks with brand new album ‘Tragic City Symphony‘. Listen for single one, “Save My Soul” which is at radio now.

The Good: The twelve tracks that comprise ‘Tragic City Symphony‘ might not be as tight as Forrest and Jenny, but they sure sound better together than peas and carrots do. The first bite into this box of chocolates is “Is This A Heartbreak or a Loaded Gun?” Rest easy, because despite title implications, this is no Fall Out Boy wasteland. Lynam peps it up and steps it up right away, a vibrant and energetic feel-good tune accompanied by gang vocals that give it some street cred. Christopher Walken would have an eargasm after listening to the cowbell led “Enemy”. Packing a huge, epic sound, “Enemy” is like an anthem meant for rocker fraternity dudes. “Lyndsay Says” is a rich yolk of soaring melodies and revelatory lyrics, encased inside an edgy, riff-laden shell, and Lynam swipes a few eggs from Breaking Benjamin’s ‘We Are Not Alone’ basket for the crunchy, haunting “Save My Soul”. “Can’t Do Anything” is oh so crafty, featuring an array of beats-thunderous stomps, sleazy licks, and the perky parade found in the chorus. Raise your drinks, clap your hands, and dance with the fervor of Carlton Banks to “Make It Alright”, a raging and rollicking concert opener if I ever heard one. The Tokyo Rose of the trailer park is “White Trash Superstar”, where the simple prominence of a banjo is enough to make you chuckle as you enjoy. “A Million Ways” is quite spirited and touching, but not all weighed down; think Daughtry’s song “Home” only with a rawer, more classic sound. Ending ‘Tragic City Symphony‘ on a high note is the sultry and inexplicably upbeat “Suffer”, one of most accessible and welcoming finales from a rock album this year. The most fruitful catch by the ‘Tragic City Symphony‘ shrimp boat is “If You Leave”. To hear this much soul and sincerity being poured out by a band whose bread and butter is jolly, happy-go-lucky rock is somewhat inspiring. Major dynamics and a timeless sound make “If You Leave” one of Lynam’s most delicious decapods. One more thing on “If You Leave” is that you could leave this song on that ‘Monster Ballads!‘ compilation and no one would know that a band from 2008 conjured this up; with twice the impact and none of the pain of listening to “Silent Lucidity”, “If You Leave” would be a monster savior to ‘Monster Ballads!‘. Regardless, Lynam kills all silence with ‘Tragic City Symphony‘, using hair metal bravado and home cooked tenderheartedness to steal the show.

The Bad: Taking jabs at ‘Tragic City Symphony‘ the way Jenny pelted her old house with rocks is a tad extreme, so these bruises won’t be too deep. First on the agenda is “Just Say Anything”, a song that, although seething with feeling, collapses from within. The track comes far too early on the album, because after zapping you with the high voltage charges of “Is This a Heartbreak or a Loaded Gun?”, “Enemy”, and “Lyndsay Says” respectively, the last thing you want is some overly gushy, soft serve tune to bring you crashing down off that high. The lyrical structure of “Just Say Anything” is yucky too, the ole “baby, I’m so sorry” deal that contributes zero to the song’s well-being. Although a tolerable four minutes and change, its albummate “Porn Star” is not. I’m all about a band like Lynam that says no to inhibition and yes to a super-sick party, but “Porn Star” is just too ridiculous for me. Obscenely juvenile and lacking a purpose, Lynam must have taken one too many beer bong hits before sitting down to write this one.

Bottomline:Tragic City Symphony‘ sports everything needed to “roll Tide!”, so maybe Nick Saban and Alabama need a little of the music from hometown boys Lynam to go from underachievers to BCS leaders. There’s no way you can listen to ‘Tragic City Symphony‘ and not find yourself singing along, snapping your fingers, or thinking of guys like Dee Snider or Vince Neil. Lynam might not be able to match the lengthy span of Forrest Gump’s cross-country run with ‘Tragic City Symphony‘, but hey, shit happens. And you better believe that even when this album has moments of being sprayed and dirtied by mud, ‘Tragic City Symphony‘ will clean itself up, wiping off on that yellow shirt and inspiring smiley faces the rest of the way.

Rating: 7 out of 10